Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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The Blog for Monday, December 08, 2008

You can't make this stuff up

    "In 2007, Sansom directed $6 million to build the emergency training center at the Destin Airport, on land controlled by Sansom's friend, developer and jet business owner Jay Odom, according to The Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times in Sunday's editions. "
    Odom has been a generous contributor to Sansom's campaign.

    Sansom has directed millions in tax money to the school in recent years. He also pushed legislation giving the institution its state college designation in June.

    Groundbreaking is about to begin on the two-story, 30,000 square-foot building, which will be used by emergency officials during natural disasters. But the manager of Odom's airport operation, Bill Blackford, says the building will also be used to store Odom's jets. Architectural plans from the college also show an "aircraft hangar" and "aircraft-related occupancies."

    Odom sought state money for a similar project last year at the same site, but didn't get any funds.

    Sansom often flies around the state on official business in Odom's aircraft, paid for by the GOP. His district legislative office is rented space in a building owned by Odom. And Odom's Crystal Beach Development gave $100,00 on Sept. 4 to a political committee controlled by House Republican leaders, including Sansom. In 2006-07, Odom's companies gave Sansom $16,000, according to the newspapers reports.
    "Fla. House Speaker defends funds for his employer". See also "Project of speaker's friend funded" and "Fla. House speaker defends marking funds for donor's project".

    Florida's media elite reduced to common paparazzi

    "It's the wedding of the decade by Florida political standards, yet the scoop on the first marriage of a sitting governor in 40 years is the best-kept secret in the capital." "Veil of secrecy surrounds Gov. Crist's wedding".

    "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"

    "Crist took a pricey 12-day trip to Europe this summer, hitting taxpayers with a $430,000 bill amid a sagging economy, a newspaper reported." "European trip for Crist, entourage cost $430K".

    But Jebbie said things were great ...

    "More than 1,000 Florida public schools, including dozens in Central Florida, do not meet federal academic standards and are drifting toward failure." "Even top schools may fail".

    More from our "Education Governor"

    Another fine Jebacy: "If the intention in Florida was to develop the best and the brightest to compete in the global marketplace, the result isn't to Florida's credit."

    According to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, Florida ranks below the national average in the percentage of young adults enrolled in college (33 percent of students between 18 and 24), compared with a national average of 34 percent. The national average rate puts it below six other countries, including top-ranked South Korea, where 53 percent of young adults attend college.

    And here's one of the most telling caveats in Florida's positive graduation rates: Though the state produces degree-holding students, those graduates often don't stay here. Just 35 percent of young Floridians (ages 25-34) hold an associate's degree or higher, well below the 39 percent national average, and a lower percentage than 15 countries. That's not a great surprise in a state heavily invested in real estate as an economic driver (an industry dependent less on education than speculation) and on tourism (an industry dependent less on education than servility). But it's not suggestive of a robust, diverse economy.
    You read that right: Florida's economy is based on both (1) real estate, "an industry dependent less on education than speculation", and (2) on tourism "an industry dependent less on education than servility".

    And don't forget Florida's "modern-day slavery".

    "Speculation", "servility", "slavery", sunshine ... and low taxes. 'Nuff said.

    Speakin' of "speculators"

    The St. Petersburg Times editorial board:"

    Many loans dwarfed the true value of the properties, and some borrowers had no visible means to repay. And the bad mortgages were approved or assigned by many of the same institutions that are lining up for billions of dollars in a taxpayer bailout. No wonder there is little public sympathy for financial institutions whose greed and recklessness helped create this mess.
    " "Our homegrown financial crisis".

    "Tuition hikes put college out of reach for middle class"

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "The price of opportunity".

    Yee Haw!

    "Republicans in Hillsborough focus on welcoming minorities and women".

    "Florida is doing poorly compared with national averages, and very poorly compared with several other nations"

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal editorial board: "The bad news is that by most other measures, including affordability, participation (especially among the young and working-age adults) and preparation, Florida is doing poorly compared with national averages, and very poorly compared with several other nations, where quality and affordability of higher education has been gaining rapidly on the United States. "

    The implications for Florida are grave. In an economy dominated by services (health, finance, insurance, retail, information technology), the difference between long-term growth and stagnation is a skilled, versatile and diverse work force. Florida is meeting the challenge only partly, with two gaps between those who are making it to college and those who aren't: Blacks and Hispanics are less likely to make it into college or graduate than whites. Poor and working-class students are even less likely to do so.
    "Unaffordable gap".


    "Democrats in Hillsborough focus on membership, momentum". See also: "Broward County Democratic chairman defeats challenger".

    Kicking and screaming ...

    Even Brevard County can't resist movement into the 21st Century: "Minorities boost Dems' numbers".

    Tax nuttery

    Dan DeWitt: "This proposed constitutional amendment, which Tallahassee business groups hope to place on the ballot in 2010, would cap local tax revenues at the combined percentage of annual inflation and population growth. ... But, without listing the many protections from excessive taxes Floridians already enjoy, let me sum up our situation this way:"

    We've historically been a state with rock-bottom taxes; as property values climbed during the real estate boom, we briefly drifted into the medium-low range; as these values drop, we are sinking back.

    I'm sympathetic to the economic plight of small business owners, whom this cap is designed to help. I'm married to one. But this cap won't help in the short term. Commercial property values, which held up longer than home prices, have started to fall ... .

    In the future, this revenue limit will hamper governments trying to keep up with costs, such as for medical insurance, that tend to rise faster than inflation. That's also true of the price of building roads and schools. At least it's true during periods of rapid growth, when this cap might provide real relief.
    "Antitax activist Linda Hayward should find a real cause" (Business will not come to Florida and provide good paying jobs "if the roads are clogged, the work force is poorly educated and business owners have to put their kids in schools with underpaid teachers.")

    Bad moon rising

    "A state panel is interviewing 18 lawyers and judges for a third Florida Supreme Court opening in less than a year. The applicants are appearing Monday before the Supreme Court Nomination Commission in Tampa. The commission will forward at least three names to Gov. Charlie Crist. He will choose one to replace Justice Harry Lee Anstead, who is retiring in January from the seven-member high court." "Panel interviewing Fla. Supreme Court applicants".

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